The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a show-business parody that features Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi as a pair of boyhood friends who begin to fear that their successful Vegas magic act has grown stale when they are continually upstaged by a street magician (played by Jim Carrey) performing gruesome physical stunts on-camera. Does prolific television director Don Scardino manage to create cinematic magic with his all-star comedic cast? Read on and find out ... if you dare!
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Run Time: 1 Hr. 40 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, UltraVioletStandard ELITE Blu-ray case with inner case hubs for two discs
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 06/25/2013
Directed by: Don Scardino
The Production Rating: 2.5/5
Starring: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Jim Carrey, Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini, Jay Mohr, Michael Bully Herbig, Brad Garrett, & Gillian Jacobs
In The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Steve Carell plays the titular magician who has successfully been headlining a show at a prominent Las Vegas Casino with his childhood best friend Anton Marvelton (Buscemi) for over a decade. When rival magician Steve Gray (Carrey) begins to win over audiences with outrageous physical stunts and his popular Steve Gray: Mind Rapist television specials, Burt and Anton start worrying that their act may be growing stale. Their attempts to keep up with the Joneses prove disastrous. Frustration combined with Burt’s out of control ego lead to a break-up of their friendship and act. When Casino owner Doug Munny (Gandolfini) loses patience with Burt and fires him, Burt finds himself friendless, jobless, and nearly penniless. A little help from his much put-upon magician’s assistant Jane (Wilde) and a chance encounter with his boyhood idol Master Magician Rance Holloway (Arkin), point the way towards a fresh start, if only Burt can be bothered to notice it.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is something of a missed opportunity. The movie is very well cast, and the idea of lampooning cheesy Las Vegas magic acts provides lots of opportunity for entertaining fish-in-a-rhinestone-encrusted-barrel target practice. Unfortunately, after a promising start, the film seems to give up on developing its characters, take its transparently structured mechanical plot movement for granted, and relies on its jokes to carry the film.
The only two characters the film even attempts to make the viewer care about are Burt and Anton. Their relationship is set up nicely in a prologue showing how they met as lonely children and bonded through their mutual fascination with and affection for magic. Unfortunately, every other relationship in the film gets short shrift. The relationship between Burt and Jane is contentious and unpleasant for most of the film, and despite one decent scene where Jane discusses her own magical aspirations, none of the third act plot developments involving them feel natural or dramatically earned. Even the rivalry between Burt and Steve Gray is never really heated up beyond a simmer until deep into the film in scenes where Gray starts to talk trash and actively undermine Burt.
The majority of the rest of the cast play one dimensional characters who frequently find themselves riffing on different versions of the same joke. The fact that a number of these jokes are funny on their own merits, particularly those involving Carrey’s “Criss Angel”-style stunts and Alan Arkin’s retired legendary magician, makes it all the more disappointing that they are not in service to a more fully developed set of characters and plot contrivances.
The 1080p AVC encoded presentation actively conveys the film's intended Super 35mm through digital intermediate look. This includes occasional instances of crushed blacks in dark scenes set in bars and theaters, which is effective in the context of the film even if it is unlikely to make the film a go-to piece of home theater demo material. The encoding is otherwise satisfactorily film like and devoid of significant digital artifacts.
Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track conveys the film's relatively unambitious sound mix accurately. The chief beneficiary of the track's lossless encoding is the film's music, which contains a lot of cheesy source music appropriately evocative of the corny Vegas magic acts being depicted. Surrounds are used sparingly and unimaginatively for a sedate, but high fidelity front-heavy presentation.
Audio Rating: 4/5
When the disc is first inserted into a player, the viewer is greeted with the following promos presented in 1080p video with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound:
Special Features Rating: 2.5/5
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy Promo (1:21)
- Jack the Giant Slayer Home Video Trailer (2:29)
Steve Gray UNCUT (8:33) is an extended faux promo for Jim Carrey's Criss Angel-like character's TV special: Intense TV Presents the Best of the Brain Rapist. It features extended (compared to the movie) segments of outrageous stunts such as "12 Long Days Held His Urine", "Steve Gray Spends One Night on The Devil's Bed", "1000 Pieces of Candy, One Way Out: Steve Gray is the Human Piñata", "Over Three Days Straight: Eyes Wide Open", and "Slice and Dice". The segments are separate by Carrey in character (but not in full make-up) improvising hilariously pretentious and nonsensical interview segments.
Making Movie Magic with David Copperfield (8:03) is a featurette in which Magician Copperfield discusses the Hangman Effect illusion he created for the movie inclusive of the one shot camera demo he made to illustrate it. He also discusses his cameo, the intimidation of working with Steve Carell, a bunch of Easter Egg cameos of Copperfirled in disguise make-up that were omitted from the movie, thoughts on heckling, his lifelong affection for movies, and some additional reflections on his life and career.
Gag Reel(4:08) Includes several outtakes, bloopers, and on-set shenanigans. This a funnier than usual collection due to some of the improvised line readings that cause fellow cast members to guffaw.
Deleted Scenes & Alternate Takes (26:23) present some deleted and extended scenes separated by title cards, but no chapter stops or individual menu selections. They range from repetitive alternate line readings to excised subplots (including one where Burt visits Anton delivering magic to starving children). The fifteen segments as identified by the on-screen titles are:
- Rise to Fame
- Burt and Anton Breakfast
- Alternate Intro
- Future of Their Act
- Steve Gray Holding it In
- Crowd Loves Burt
- Burt Riffs on the Box
- Burt Leaves His Suite
- Burt Scarf Flosses
- Burt Travels to Jungle
- Steve Gray Drill Stunt Extended
- Burt Propositions Nicole Alternate Takes
- Burt Doesn't Like Bed Alternate Takes
- Nursing Home Extended
- Alternate Ending
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy Promo (1:20)
- Pacific Rim Theatrical Trailer (2:34)
- Man of Steel Theatrical Trailer (2:33)
- The Great Gatsby Home Video Trailer (2:34)
- Jack the Giant Slayer Home Video Trailer (2:28)
- 42 Home Video Trailer (2:27)
Ultraviolet Digital Copy The disc also comes packaged with an access code for an Ultraviolet Digital Copy of the film. This allows users to access a streaming version of the film on computers and certain tablets and mobile devices. It also allows viewers with appropriate desktop software to download a copy to their computer's hard drive. Multiple viewing options are available from online services such as Flixster, Vudu, and CinemaNow which allow redemption of Ultraviolet titles and/or linking to Ultraviolet accounts.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone offers up a number of individually amusing scenes thanks to its comedically gifted cast, but does not conjure up sufficient magic or display the “Spinal Tap” level of affection for the show business genre it parodies needed to overcome its by the numbers plot or two dimensional characters. It is presented on DVD with acceptable video and audio quality with a modest collection of extras highlighted by an entertaining collection of Deleted Scenes and Alternate Takes.
Overall Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewed By: Ken_McAlinden
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